I recall some time back attending a medical tourism conference in the USA. The organisers had included on their programme a UK plastic surgeon who was to speak on “Cosmetic Surgery Abroad”. Unfortunately, the conference organisers hadn’t done their speaker research too well. What they expected to be a plug for cosmetic surgery tourism turned out to be a 20 minute onslaught of graphic slides illustrating cases of cosmetic surgery gone wrong…. patients who had travelled from the UK to elsewhere for cosmetic surgery whom this surgeon had been asked to treat on their return….. what is becoming known in the UK as “Botched up Bodies”. (For non-native English speakers, “botched up” means …. ruined, destroyed, messed up.)
Cosmetic surgery is a significant sector of the medical tourism market. It represents a significant proportion of the outbound medical tourism market from countries with developed health systems such as the UK. In the UK, according to the Treatment Abroad Medical Tourism Survey, 42% of outbound medical tourists are seeking cosmetic surgery abroad. These consumers cannot afford the prices for cosmetic surgery within UK hospitals and clinics and are attracted by the cost savings available in other countries. Belgium, Czech Republic, Turkey and Poland are the favoured destinations for British women seeking a new look.